Celebrating 99 years of Korean cartooning and animation, the 2008 Seoul International Cartoon & Animation Festival, like previous years, sought the international spotlight despite the enormous risk of going unnoticed regionally due to the relative undervalue of the Korean animation community. Organizers were still optimistic about the turnout: "It has already been 12 years,'' Kim Seok-ki, chairman of the SICAF organizing committee, stated in a press meeting. "SICAF is a unique festival that isn't modeled after any other international event. It sets itself apart from the ones in France (Annecy) or Japan (Hiroshima), and features both artistic, experimental projects and commercial, techno-savvy works… Cartoons and animations are becoming increasingly important cultural content.''
From a pool of hundreds of submissions, honors were given to Tokyo Marble Chocolate (Japan; 2007) as the top feature film exhibited at the animation festival. Awarded the Grand Prize in the Feature Films Category, Tokyo Marble Chocolate is the directorial debut of Naoyoshi Shiotani; the film is a sweet youth romance tale of a kind but shy boy and a clumsy girl, who spend their first Christmas together. Shiotani's film features animation production by the Production I.G group.
In other categories, such as Short Films (Professional): Aardman Animation's The Pearce Sisters (UK; 2007), a hilarious ten-minute piece about two sisters living on a lonely stretch of land by the sea, was honored as the Grand Prize winner of the category. Directed by Luis Cook, the short film is described as, " An amusingly bleak hearted tale […] of love, loneliness, guts, gore, nudity, violence, smoking and cups of tea." Other winners in Short Films (Professional) included the surreal A Coffee Vending Machine and Its Sword (Korea; 2007), as directed by Chang Hyung-yun, which earned the Special Distinction award. The short film follows a boy who is reincarnated as a vending machine, and falls in love with the machine maintenance girl.
from Tokyo Marble Chocolate
from The Pearce Sisters